Milwaukee Artist You Should Know: Valerie Lighthart

Lighthart’s debut single “I’ll be Damned,” was released in 2018.

Nothing is simple in Valerie Lighthart’s world. The Milwaukee singer’s florid electro-pop songs revel in femininity and glamour but are haunted by gender expectations and reminders of the male gaze. For her new EP, PT. I: THE GODDESS, Lighthart, 23, produced much of the music herself, while unpacking the “scary and intimidating thoughts that a lot of young women feel about their femininity and their sexuality.” She’s excited about the project, but she’s anxious, too – these are the most vulnerable songs she’s ever written. 

– Evan Rytlewski, 88Nine Radio Milwaukee

You write a lot about femininity. Is that something you enjoy wrestling with, or is it a burden even having to consider it?

It’s very contextual, which is one of the reasons I think so many people fixate on how to unpack it. It’s like when you get dressed up somewhere and you feel really good about yourself and you look really good, and that’s so much fun. And then like, you go out and somebody makes a comment that makes you feel unsafe, and then suddenly you want to disappear. You know, it’s a difficult thing, because it’s all the same.

Is part of the draw of music for you that it gives you a way to consider these ideas on your own terms?

Yes, absolutely! I think that creating a realm wherein I can explore these complicated feelings that I have and unpack them and probe for the root of them in a way that is totally safe, and with trusted collaborators, is immensely transformative.

Photo courtesy of Russ Heritage

The full interview is available at


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s May issue.

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